Universal Orlando Closes Its Barney the Dinosaur Show

February 3, 2021, 10:53 PM · Universal Orlando confirmed today that its Barney show has closed permanently and will not return to Universal Studios Florida.

A Day in the Park with Barney debuted in 1995, as part of the Woody Woodpecker's KidZone expansion that took over the site of Bates Motel and the walkway to the old Hard Rock Cafe outside the park. Featuring the characters from the then-popular "Barney & Friends" children's TV show, the indoor production might have been best known for a nifty staging trick that allowed the titular purple dinosaur to appear out of nowhere in the middle of the theater at the start of the show.

The show invited children and their families to sing along with several popular songs from the TV show, accompanied by multiple atmospheric effects, including falling leaves from the "sky" above. (One of those leaves fell into our family diaper bag and then remained on our refrigerator for years.) After the show, visitors exited into the "Barney's Backyard" indoor playground, where kids could work off the adrenaline they'd stirred up bet getting to watch Barney, BJ, and Baby Bop perform "in real life."

A Day in the Park with Barney did not resume when Universal Orlando reopened its parks last June. (*Update: Looks like it did for a while. See comments.) Barney's recent time on the sidelines raised fears that the resort ultimately would cancel the production. Today, Universal confirmed that it had.

The show's closure also will fuel rumors that Universal might be thinking about closing the Woody Woodpecker's KidZone land to make way for Super Nintendo World. That land had been slated for the new Epic Universe theme park, but with that park now shelved indefinitely due to the pandemic and resulting collapse in demand for travel, Universal might need to find it a new home if it can't make the case for resuming work on Epic Universe within the next year or so. Before the Epic Universe project emerged, KidZone had been tipped as the site for Universal's Nintendo land.

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Replies (14)

February 4, 2021 at 8:18 AM

Not suprising. I used to love Barney, but that was almost 30 years ago. Barney was big in the 90s, but it was less popular in the 00s, and became extinct over the last decade. It’s too bad here in the U.S. Sea World has the Sesame Street theme park rights. The SS dark ride at Universal Japan looks great, and unlike Barney, SS is, or at least was a show that can be enjoyed by adults.

February 4, 2021 at 9:32 AM

That show was SO DAMN GREAT! The beginning, when the theater got dark and the lights went down and the suddenly BAM! Lights come up and there he was. The purple t-rex with the anchorman teeth. It was like witnessing the second coming.

February 4, 2021 at 9:58 AM

It appears to me that this is similar to Stitch at MK where its a budget cut to close it for now but with a future replacement in mind, and basically it will happen when it happens.

Also i've been saying on here for years that the new park was a bad project and Super Nintendo Land is a better fit for replacing Kidzone/Barney than an anchor for a whole new park, so if this turns out to be accurate I will feel highly justified :D

February 4, 2021 at 10:36 AM

The Barney show actually did open up last year during the pandemic. I checked it out for only the second time ever in July and it was a neat show. It had good pacing and some neat tricks that entertained the young and nice cool indoor seating for everyone else. The park setting was also really unique and a nice touch. Having said that though, Barney's prime was in the 90's and unlike the Simpsons it obviously doesn't have the lasting cultural impact so it is time for a replacement. A 25 year run is impressive in itself no doubt.

As opposed to some of the other comments here, I really do hope one day Epic Universe does come to fruition and Nintendo isn't put in Kidzone and thats that. A new park offers so many more possibilities for growth and heck its a new park! The pandemic has derailed that for now but hopefully sometime this decade Epic Universe goes full steam ahead.

February 4, 2021 at 11:30 AM

You guys have to understand that Barney is a dinosaur from our imagination.

I mean ... Props!

February 4, 2021 at 12:02 PM

It is SO easy to hate Barney. I mean...there is a lot for cynical grownups who have lost the power of imagination to scoff at and make fun of.
But, until you've settled into theater in the round after meeting Mr. (or Mrs.) Peek-A-Boo in the preshow you have no idea how perfect the show really was. I saw it hundreds of times when I worked at USF, and while I personally valued my time at the park for the jamming A/C, the show never failed to enthrall its young views.
I made it my business to see all the shows at WDW specifically aimed at the same demographic, and I fiercely stand by the following statement - there has never been a better stage show in Orlando with this age group as its focus. Its time had come, but I doubt there will ever be a theatrical experience that matches A Day In The Park With Barney for its target audience.

February 4, 2021 at 12:28 PM

"there has never been a better stage show in Orlando with this age group as its focus."

The number of times the Disney Junior show at DHS has been reworked over the past 2 decades is prime evidence of this assertion.

February 4, 2021 at 12:59 PM

Robert missed a prime opportunity to write that Barney has gone extinct.

On another note, I never took the opportunity to watch the show. The main reason being I was obviously not the intended demographic and it would look strange for a guy by himself to go willingly to this show. I was curious to know what it was like though. My main experience with the area has always been walking through it on the way to HHN houses. That spongey green carpet was weird.

February 4, 2021 at 2:47 PM

Thank you for this sentence, "that took over the site of Bates Motel and the walkway to the old Hard Rock Cafe outside the park," as after years of not quite being able to picture where Bates and Hard Rock used to be, it all clicked! I have memories from the early 90s of those spots, yet didn't really have a chance to spend time in that area of the park until a visit in February 2020. Now I wish I would have checked out this show, even as I was clearly not the audience for it.

February 4, 2021 at 2:51 PM

Wow, 25 years, that's an impressive run, have to respect that even if I could never stand the character.

February 4, 2021 at 3:56 PM

I'm bummed but this. Not because I cared about the show but because walking through that section at night to get to the HHN queues back there was one of the coolest creepiest parts of the whole event. That whole are and statue was so unnerving in the darkness and shadows getting to those backstage maze queues. I will genuinely miss that

February 4, 2021 at 6:47 PM

I'm currently sitting in my truck, parked behind Universal Orlando near the dumpsters.

Now all I have to do is wait ... and that costume shall be mine.

February 5, 2021 at 6:13 PM

TH Creative - You'd be amazed at the process involved for getting the actor into the Barney costume. I've been around lots of Theme Park costumes, and getting into Barney involved a whole new level of acrobatics.

February 7, 2021 at 3:32 PM

that's an impressive run,

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